Mindfulness Meditation, besides offering innumerable health benefits, can help boost ‘happiness’ serotonin levels, naturally.
Also known as the future medicine, mindfulness meditation can be used as a technique or a way of living a meditative lifestyle. Meditation ‘Medere (Latin) – making whole’ can help the body release serotonin naturally by preventing activity in the amygdala and the right prefrontal cortex, the stress-producing regions of the brain. Mindfulness Meditation increases activity in the prefrontal cortex, the happiness-producing region of the brain.
Serotonin is a hormone and neurotransmitter found in the digestive tract, the central nervous system, blood platelets and the pineal gland. Serotonin, known as the happy hormone, has a big impact on our mood stability and sleep. It also regulates many of the vital systems in the body, including our cardiovascular, immune, and gastrointestinal systems.
According to a research at Macalester College in 1997, the absence of serotonin has been associated with greater aggressive behavior. Low serotonin levels have been correlated with higher levels of irritability, aggression, eating and sleep disorders.
Anti-depressant drugs are prescribed to restore healthy serotonin levels in our brain. The commonly used anti-depressants contain a class of compounds, Selective Serotonin re-uptake Inhibitor (SSRI). But SSRI’s come with a host of adverse side-effects like dizziness, fatigue and insomnia. In the case of people above 65, SSRI’s can increase the risk of bone loss and fractures. Users of anti-depressant drugs have also reported withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuing the medication. This is where the natural processes like mindfulness meditation can make all the difference.
Principles of mindfulness meditation involve relaxation, oxygenation, visualisation, concentration, self-hypnosis, cognitive restructuring, optimised experiences and secretion of endorphin “feel-good” hormones.
1. University of Montreal scientists (Perreau-Linck et al) and the Amrita University, India clearly demonstrated the positive effect of Mindfulness Meditation on increasing the feel good ‘serotonin’ levels, in the regular practitioners.
2. Studies have also shown a link between depression and lack of sleep. Serotonin helps us sleep better, and in turn, a restful sleep aids our body’s recovery and healing process considerably.
3. Zindel Segal of the University of Toronto believes that mindfulness meditation teaches us, thought by thought, to alter our responses to stress, thereby increasing serotonin production.
Please contact a related wellness expert to know more and if needed, to take you through the process of how to manage your thought mind and fluctuating serotonin levels. All the Best!